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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, July 8 (All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (38-49) at Cincinnati Reds (46-42), 1:10 p.m. & 7:10 p.m. (DH)
Probable Starting Pitchers: Game One: Chicago - Travis Wood (7-6, 4.62) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (8-6, 1.99)
Game Two: Chicago - Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00) Cincinnati - David Holmberg (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - For the Cincinnati Reds, there's nothing like a five- game series with the Chicago Cubs to prolong a good winning streak.
The Reds will try to maintain the National League's best record since June 11 when they face the Chicago Cubs in games two and three of an extended series on Tuesday with a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati's 17-8 mark in its last 25 games is equal to Pittsburgh for the best record in the NL, and its overall mark against the Cubs over the last 23 months is 29-9.
The Reds won Monday's opener even with the absence of 2010 league MVP Joey Votto, who could be headed to the disabled list with a left leg injury, but will wait until the results of tests are in. He was replaced at first base by Jay Bruce, who started there for the first time since high school.
Right-hander Johnny Cueto gets the call for Cincinnati in the opener of Tuesday's twin bill, his first appearance since it was announced that he was selected to the NL's All-Star team.
He allowed seven hits and three runs in his last start on Wednesday -- a 3-0 loss at San Diego -- but still has an earned run average below 2.00.
In his last seven starts against the Cubs, he's 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA and an opposition batting average of .185.
He's opposed by former teammate Travis Wood, who was ripped for three runs and seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings of the Cubs' 16-9 defeat of the Boston Red Sox. He's not allowed more than three earned runs in six straight starts, but he's walked 22 batters in his last 34 2/3 innings.
The Cubs send Tsuyoshi Wada out for his big-league debut in the second game, where he'll face David Holmberg, who's making his debut for the Reds.
Wada was 9-5 in 17 appearances at Triple-A Iowa and could have a chance to replace recently traded aces Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
"There's nothing that says they can't come in here and perform and help us win ballgames," manager Rick Renteria said. "We're really hopeful that the guys that we have within the system will be able to come in and hopefully find a sense of comfort within that clubhouse and when they go out to the hill. Obviously, there's some nervousness that comes with the new area, the new arena. But usually those guys are able to adjust and perform."
Holmberg was 0-4 in 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville.
He pitched 3 2/3 innings for Arizona last season and allowed three runs and six hits.
On Monday, Bruce made an error in his first career start at first base, but also homered for the second straight game to help guide the Reds to a 9-3 win.
Bruce had spent the first 899 games of his major league career occupying one of the three outfield spots. He had played exclusively in right since the start of the 2009 season. Bruce finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Reds, who improved to 6-3 against Chicago this season.
Starter Mike Leake (7-7) also continued his dominance over the Cubs, striking out seven in seven innings to win his fourth consecutive decision against them.
Edwin Jackson (5-9) absorbed the loss, yielding four runs on seven hits over six innings. Cubs leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
07/08 10:37:37 ET